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Urgent Covid-19 related matter for the Court?

If you need to make an urgent application on a family law matter during the pandemic, you should become acquainted with the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court National Covid-19 List. This is a special and new way of urgently applying to the court for determination of property and parenting matters – but is only available for matters which have arisen especially due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For instance, if you can no longer conduct changeover as in your Final Parenting Orders because of Covid-19 and can’t agree on an alternative location, then you could apply to the Court for an urgent determination to resolve the conflict.

However, the Courts expect parents to be sensible and focus on the needs of the children during this highly stressful time. You must try to sort it out yourself first. But if you can’t, then there is a mechanism for an urgent application to the Court for help. You don’t file online through the Court portal though – you should prepare your documents and email them to for filing.

The courts have advised to be eligible for the COVID-19 List, you must satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • The application has been filed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • The matter is urgent;
  • The application is accompanied by an Affidavit (using the COVID-19 template affidavit) that addresses all of the criteria;
  • If safe to do so, you have made reasonable attempts to resolve the issue but you were unsuccessful;
  • The matter can be dealt with using electronic means (e.g.: using telephone or videoconferencing).


  • Supervised contact: your current parenting arrangements involve supervised contact, and the contact centre is closed or the supervisor cannot perform their role and you cannot agree on an alternative.
  • Border restrictions: you live in a different state to the other party and your child or children cannot travel between residences due to border restrictions.
  • Medical: you, the other party and/or the child have tested positive for COVID-19 and you cannot fulfil the parenting obligations due to sickness or concerns of infection.
  • Family violence: there has been an increase in risk due to family violence as a result of the restrictions imposed on families due to COVID-19.

Depending on if your matter is accepted for hearing under the Covid-19 list, you may get a hearing either within three business days of your application being assessed by the Court or less if your application is assessed as critically urgent. Or if your application is not accepted to the Covid-19 list, then you will be allocated a hearing date as per the usual timetable which is likely to be in 4 to 6 weeks’ time after filing your application. 

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